• EU, UK lay out broad areas for Brexit negotiations: Brexit negotiations have set out the broad areas of talks to establish the UK’s future links with the EU after it leaves. In a one-page document published on Friday, the European Commission and British government laid out 24 headings – from financial services to fisheries – that will form the basis of upcoming talks on the future relationship with the bloc in the coming weeks. The publication comes at the end of a two-day round of technical talks between the UK and EU teams in Brussels this week, which officials say ended without firm conclusions. (The Financial Times)
  • Brexit plan entails border checks between NI and rest of Britain: A backup plan to impose border checks on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK at ports and airports to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland after Brexit has been drafted by senior civil servants. Despite the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) angrily rejecting any suggestion of a border “in the Irish Sea”, a leaked paper reveals that officials have been working on a blueprint “to be deployed as necessary in the negotiation process”. The proposal is described as “infinitely preferable” to a hard land border on the island of Ireland and the risk of a return to violence. (The Guardian)
  • Brexit Transition Must Be Extended, According to U.K. Officials: The Brexit transition period will need to be extended potentially for years because any new customs regime will not be ready to come into force in time, according to senior British officials. According to two people familiar with the Brexit talks, the UK will have to stay inside the European customs union beyond the transition period’s end date of December 2020 while new border measures are developed. While this is not government policy, it is being discussed by senior officials. (Bloomberg)
  • Brexit: Civil servants preparing to carry out ‘manual workarounds’ over fears IT systems will not be ready in time: Civil servants are preparing to carry out “manual workarounds” because they fear their IT systems will not be ready for Brexit, risking logjams at Britain’s ports. An investigation by MPs raises the alarm over “disruption to the agri-food and chemical industries”, because of the lack of preparedness at the department for the environment, food and rural affairs (Defra). Their report warns that falling back on manual systems is likely to “impede or at least slow down imports and exports causing severe delays at the border”. (The Independent / Business Insider UK)